Rethink Waste:
Campus Waste Reduction Initiative

As part of JMU’s Environmental Stewardship Action Plan, the university adopted a goal to reduce waste.  In 2011, JMU sent 35% of our solid waste to be recycled and 8% to be composted (see diagram of waste disposal destinations). This is a significant increase since 2008 when 33% of JMU’s solid waste was sent to recycling and none was composted.  2011 JMU Waste Disposal Destinations

However, we still have significant opportunities for improved recycling. Measurements by Health Science students indicate that an average of 1/3 to 1/2 of waste put in trash cans on campus should have been disposed of in a recycling bin. Multiple actions have been taken to increase recycling:

• Additional recycling bins have been deployed and a comprehensive bin re-labeling effort was made.
• Composting bins were made available in the Festival Student and Conference Center.
• Behind the scenes composting has been adopted at the all-you-can eat E-hall and D-hall facilities.
• Dining take out packaging, such as cookie bags and clear clam shells, have been replaced by compostable packaging. 
• Bulk, confidential shredding is available through JMU Recycling and Waste Management.
• The Copy Center offers high quality, tested, recycled paper.
• The JMU recycling guidelines were improved & widely distributed.

Of course, the most environmentally beneficial strategy for waste reduction is to simply not create the waste in the first place. Once waste exists and must be disposed of, EPA ranks source reduction (including reuse) as the most preferred method, followed by recycling and composting, energy recovery (see the EPA Waste Management Hierarchy diagram.)

EPA Waste Management Hierarchy

Please spend 10 minutes rethinking the way you generate waste. Best practices for JMU have been provided in a format that allows you to identify and report which actions you will implement. These practices were developed based on their measurable, significant effects for JMU and their ability to be practically implemented. For best practices for individuals, departments and events, contact Amanda Bodle at

If you would like assistance implementing waste reduction, training is available through Training and Development’s “Choose Environmental Stewardship” series.